Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games in the world. It is played in casinos from sticky-floor California card rooms to the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco and has even made its way to the TV show Deal or No Deal. Though the game looks serious and intimidating, it’s actually as simple as betting on a flip of a coin and has one of the lowest house edges of any casino table game.
The name “Baccarat” comes from a Latin phrase meaning “to draw”. It is a game of chance where you wager on which hand will win – the player’s or banker’s. The game originated in Europe and has found a new life in Asia but it is now gaining popularity in America as more casinos offer tables. Baccarat is a simple game of chance but there are a few strategies you can use to increase your winning opportunities.
Baccarat uses eight (and sometimes six) decks of cards that are dealt from a dealing shoe. All cards have a value, and suits are irrelevant. Card number values range from 2 to 9 and aces are worth one point. When the total of a hand exceeds 9, it is adjusted by dropping the first digit, i.e. a seven plus a three equals 14.
Players do not have any playing options, and the player’s and banker’s hands are dealt from the same shoe. The Caller (dealer) will then determine which hand needs a third card, and this is shown face up to the players. If the Player Hand is weaker than the Banker’s, then the banker will take a third card. If the Player Hand is stronger than the Banker’s, then the player will pay all bets on that hand.
Baccarat has long been a favorite of European royalty and has received commissions to design extensive glass dinner services for many palaces and homes. At the Great Exhibitions of the 19th Century, Baccarat received several gold medals including for a monumental 24 foot tall glass fountain and a massive glass ‘Temple of Mercury’ that contained a large statue of the Roman god. Its success at these major events would bring Baccarat further recognition and clientele throughout the world. Its international success would continue to grow as it exhibited at the 1867 Universal Exposition in Paris and won a gold medal for a large glass ‘Sunflower’ sculpture. Its strong showings at the fairs would also lead to commissions from Ottoman Turkey, Portugal and Japan. Baccarat continued its success in the 20th Century, and it was during this period that it started to etch its trademark mark into its pieces – a circular label with a decanter on the right and a cup and wine glass either side.